Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
Like The Gold Rush, The Maltese Falcon, and Casablanca before it, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is a cinematic masterpiece that continues to stand the test of time. Which is why, in 2001, the U.S Library of Congress deemed it “culturally, historically, and/or aesthetically significant” (in my opinion, all of the above) before preserving it forever via the National Film Registry.
The film combines the amazing atmosphere and cinematography of Universal’s Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, and The Wolfman, as well as the titular characters from those films (or in the case of Frankenstein, the titular character’s monster), with the still hilarious antics of William “Bud” Abbott and Lou Costello. Every monster movie team-up since was probably inspired by this little ditty, up to and including Freddy VS. Jason.
Check out the trailer below:
Basically, the plot of the film is "One stupid guy and one really, really stupid guy almost get killed by all the Universal monsters over and over again – however, due to their hilarious naiveté, they manage to stave off execution." Simple, yes, but endlessly hilarious and fun - and no Halloween is complete without it.
The Monster Squad
The Monster Squad is by no means a perfect film. But what it lacks in finesse, it more than makes up for with heart, awesome child actors, a dog that can high-five, Rick Baker special effects, and politically incorrect humor as provided by screenwriter Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3).
The plot of the film sees the infamous Universal Monsters – Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Mummy, the Wolfman, as well as the Creature from the Black Lagoon – attempt to take over the world, as per usual. But who’s there to stop them? The Monster Squad - a rag-tag band of pre-teens with a strange affinity for everything monster-related.
Check out the trailer below:
In many ways, The Monster Squad is the like a twelve-year-old’s version of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (only the protagonists are more competent), with young actor performances reminiscent of (but not as serious as) the ones from Stand by Me and E.T.
FYI: A remake of The Monster Squad is currently in the planning stages and is being produced by Rob Cohen, otherwise known as the director of the upcoming xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. So, uhm, keep your eye out for that one, I guess?
I would be remiss if I didn’t include John Carpenter’s Halloween on this list of films to get you in the mood for Halloween.
It probably goes without saying that this 1978 classic – more so than even Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Bob Clark's Black Christmas, or Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre – created the slasher genre as we know it today. There would be no Friday the 13th, Prom Night, My Bloody Valentine, or Scream films without the critically-acclaimed and commercially successful Michael Myers vehicle.
Check out the original trailer below:
Everybody knows the story: Wholesome Laurie Strode is innocently babysitting children and twiddling her thumbs while all her promiscuous neighborhood pals are being chopped up by a somewhat human version of the Boogeyman with William Shatner’s face for a mask. Sort of.
As far as horror movies go, this one is a freaking grand-slam. Forget the stupid, shock-laden torture-pornography that kids love today – Halloween was all about subtle and deliberate scares on top of an iconic excellent synthesized score by Mr. Carpenter himself. Do yourself a favor and watch Halloween on Halloween - or before.
- Nosferatu (1922)
- Trick 'R Treat
- Scooby-Doo On Zombie Island
- Young Frankenstein
- The Lost Boys
- Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
- The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939, 1959)
So what do you think of our choices, Screen Ranters? More importantly, what movies, TV episodes, and videogames do you watch or play to get you in the mood for Halloween? Drop us a line in the comments.
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.
Halloween is Monday, October 31st this year. If you're looking for a theatrical horror movie experience to get you in the Halloween spirit, The Thing is in theaters October 14th - followed by Paranormal Activity 3 on October 21st.